British 1845 Pattern Infantry Officer’s Sword, c1850 by Linney, with Unusual Steel Scabbard
Curved single fullered blade with spear point, brass proof slug stamped with ‘Proof’. Distinctive gilt brass ‘Gothic’ hilt with crown and cypher of Queen Victoria within an oval, hinged folding inner guard and small quillon, black leather washer, black leather hilt liner. Gilt brass backstrap with integral pommel, black shagreen grip bound with wire. Unusual scabbard of black-painted steel with brass throat, chape and middle mount, with hanging rings on the locket and middle mount, and decorated oval frog stud on the top mount. Blade length 32¼ inches (~82cm), overall length 37¾ inches (~96cm).
The blade is etched on both sides with foliate motifs and the crown & cypher of Queen Victoria. An etched six-pointed star surrounds the proof mark.
The throat piece of the scabbard has a cast maker’s mark within a shield cartouche: ‘J & G Linney, 23 Regent St, London’. Founded as the partnership of Linney & Ulton around 1829, this maker went through several name and address changes which can help to date its swords. It went by J & G Linney between 1850 and 1857 - its operators in this period being James and George Linney, the sons of cofounder Amos Linney. Interestingly, references list ‘J & G’ as operating out of premises at 21 Regent St. 23 Regent St was the firm’s previous address, connected to the previous name ‘Amos Linney & Son’. The number is quite worn but I do read it as 23, which if correct might date this sword even more precisely to about 1850, after the firm changed its name but before it moved to the new premises. As it has a hinged inner guard it must predate 1854 when this feature was removed, and the frog stud seen on the scabbard was abolished in 1855.
As the blade is ¾ of an inch wide at its midsection, and 5/16 of an inch thick at the shoulder, this is probably an unofficial ‘light’ version of the 1845 Pattern. These were produced for wear at levées and when officers were off duty, intended to be less cumbersome than the full size version. This being the case the use of a steel scabbard deliberately made to look like the lighter leather scabbard is even more unusual. Perhaps this sword was carried in tropical climates where a leather scabbard would be expected to perish, or it was simply an ‘optional extra’ intended to be more durable than the leather scabbard. Another example I have seen of such a scabbard was on an 1845 Pattern made in 1848 by H Wilkinson (no relation to the Wilkinson Sword Company), so while it is scarce it was not unique to Linney. The use of a leather scabbard was officially abolished in 1866.
The blade has a patinated finish and some small spots of pitting near the point. Its etching remains clear. The hilt retains only small areas of its original gilding, the exposed brass has a dark patina. The folding hilt works well. The wire binding of the grip is fully intact, the shagreen has some small holes on the outer side only. The leather hilt liner is intact, slightly curled at the pommel end – this would have been secured in place by the sword knot. The scabbard has some dents, speckled pitting and rubbing to the paint on the steel sections, smaller dents and patination to the brass sections.